The detention term of Gundelik Azerbaijan and Realniy Azerbaijan newspapers’ editor-in-chief Eynulla Fatullayev in the Baku Investigative Prison was prolonged for two more months. The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety was told this by Fatullayev’s lawyer Elchin Sadigov.
Sadigov said that on 25 February the Garadag District Court issued a decision to hold E.Fatullayev in the Baku Investigative Prison until 30 April. E.Sadigov noted that they will issue an appeal regarding this because the extension of the term was not substantiated in the decision. The lawyer added that on 20 February the Garadag District Prosecutor’s Office sent them a letter stating that the investigation was concluded. However, an appeal was made later to prolong the term.
Sadigov added that EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Peter Semneby and several other diplomats visited Eynulla Fatullayev in the investigative prison on 25 February. The diplomats told the journalist that they appealed to Azerbaijan’s administration several times to release him, but were unsuccessful. They told him to be patient.
According to the Mediaforum website, at the end of March E.Fatullayev’s appeal will be considered in the European Court of Human Rights.
On 29 December, 0.223 grams heroin was found on Fatullayev. Eynulla Fatullayev and his lawyer assess this incident as an operation set-up to prevent the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the journalist in the near future. A criminal case was opened against Fatullayev in the Garadag District Investigative Department under article 234.1 of the Criminal Code (Illegal purchase or storage without a purpose of selling of narcotics or psychotropic substances in a quantity (amount) exceeding necessary for personal consumption) and he was transferred to the Baku Investigative Prison #2 on 2 January.
Eynulla Fatullayev was sentenced to 2.5 years of imprisonment on 21 April 2007 for insulting honor and dignity. Later he was convicted under articles 214.1 (threatening terror), 283.2.2 (incitement of ethnic/national, social or religious hatred abusing authority), and 213.2.2 (tax evasion) of the Criminal Code and was sentenced to 8.5 years of imprisonment on 30 October 2007. Prior to the new charge against him, Fatullayev was serving his sentence in prison #12.
Realniy Azerbaijan has been published as weekly newspaper, and Gundelik Azerbaijan was published as a daily newspaper since 2005. Eynulla Fatullayev established the newspapers and was the editor-in-chief of both publications. The newspapers ceased their activity after the arrest of the editor-in-chief in 2007.